- Every child is a unique individual who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
- Children develop and learn in different ways. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.
Development Matters identifies three characteristics of effective learning in a child:
- Playing and exploring – engagement
- Finding out and exploring
- Playing with what they know
- Being willing to ‘have a go’
- Active learning – motivation
- Being involved and concentrating
- Keeping trying
- Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Creating and thinking critically – thinking
- Having their own ideas
- Making links
- Choosing ways to do things
Three prime areas of learning and development are identified for this age group:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Making relationships
- Self-confidence and self-awareness
- Managing feelings and behaviour
- Physical Development
- Moving and handling
- Health and self-care
- Communication and Language
- Listening and attention
Four specific areas of learning and development build the foundations of the essential skills and knowledge which children need in order to participate successfully in society:
- Shape, space and measure
- Understanding the World
- People and communities
- The world
- Expressive Arts and Design
- Exploring and using media and materials
- Being imaginative
Our practitioners develop the curriculum by taking into consideration each child’s individual needs. In the Foundation Stage we plan from the child's interests so that activities are engaging and motivating and encourage children to learn in a self-sufficient way.
We include all seven areas of learning into our sessions, which are planned and resourced according to the children’s needs and interests. Children are able to access resources independently or the teacher may set up a specific activity that will target a particular group of children.
Each teacher is supported by one or two other adults who are in the classroom at all times, working with the children. We have daily planning meetings for the Foundation Stage staff to discuss their observations of the children, their needs and next steps.
Outdoor play is a fundamental part of the Foundation Stage and children in Reception have access to the outside area for most of the day. Children love and need to be outside and often learn more effectively outside. We plan very carefully for the outside area so that we are offering a range of challenging and motivating activities that stimulate children’s development.
Learning through Play
Play is a natural way for young children to learn. It is important to allow children to play so that they can make sense of their world. Children learn through a range of different play experiences. These encourage children to develop their communication, cooperation and negotiation skills and to build on their imagination, creativity and problem solving skills. The Foundation Stage allows children to learn through meaningful play experiences that are built upon to scaffold their learning in a meaningful way.
‘A messy child is a happy child’
Children are encouraged to experience a range of activities. Sometimes these activities are messy. This is an important part of their learning. We provide aprons but at times this is not enough to protect your child’s clothes.
Assessment plays an important part in helping parents and practitioners (teachers and teaching assistants) to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs and to plan activities and support.
We carry out the Reception Baseline Assessment, as required by the DfE, during the first half term of Reception. This is completed one on one, with the teacher and child, in a quiet environment. Each child takes part in the same activities and answer the same questions.
Assessment begins on entry in the Foundation Stage and involves practitioners observing children whilst they are working and playing. Practitioners make observations of each child in each area of learning to develop a picture of what each child knows and how to take the child further in their learning. Each child has a Focus Week once a term, followed by a meeting with the child’s parents. During this, week the planning is focussed around the focus child’s specific interests.
At the end of the Foundation Stage, the Foundation Stage Profile is completed for each child and outcomes are reported to parents. The profile provides a picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities and their progress against expected levels. Before your child moves up to Year 1, the information is shared with the Year 1 teacher so that they build a picture of your child before they start.
Working with Parents
We believe that working closely with parents is vital in order to keep a rounded picture of each child’s development. Parents are encouraged to look at their child’s Learning Journey and online journal on Seesaw and will be given the opportunity to come in to discuss their child’s development.
Key Person System
At the start of the year, each child is assigned a key person, generally the class teacher or teaching assistant. Their role is to help ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs. They help each child to become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with parents. We have a Home School Liaison Book in place where information can be exchanged on a daily basis.
Transition to Key Stage 1
The transition from Early Years to Key Stage 1 is a smooth and well-organised process, so when children begin Year 1, their teachers know exactly how to challenge and develop their learning. Children’s individual Levels of Achievement are discussed and learning evolves from the EYFS curriculum to the National Curriculum.
Reception children will have had the opportunity before they start Key Stage 1 to go to the Year 1 class and meet their teacher.
The Year 1 curriculum builds upon and extends the experiences that children have had in Reception. Learning through play will continue and be an important part of the school day, with some more formal learning approaches being applied as the year goes on.